Sunday, May 30, 2010
Fushimi Inari is probably one of the best temples around Kyoto. The site itself is sprawled across a mountainous landscape, and the pathes are lined with hundreds to possibly thousands of torii gates. After getting off the train we noticed right away one incredibly large Torii gate standing right outside the station. This torii was practically welcoming visitors straight into Inari, and it was less than 100 feet from the Inari Station. The first thing I noticed as we walked past the large Tori was the statues of the Kitsune. These spirits were followers of Inari and helped carry his messages and orders. These were playful spirits and the statues were all similar with one holding a scroll in its mouth and the other is holding an Orb.
My first thoughts on the sight were from having seen pictures and movie scenes that involved the torii gates and how amazing it was to see all these gates lined up to look like a wall. I learned that business would donate money to the complex and would receive a Torii gate in its honor to be placed along the path. This tradition is thought to bring success in the business world and who knows maybe it helps a little to contribute to many of the nations historical sites.
As we walked along there were many smaller shrines that were dedicated to Inari and the Kitsune and all of these small shrines held tiny Torii gates, and smaller statues of the kitsune with offering boxes. We ended up wondering around for awhile and eventually off the regular path. We didn't realize that this path was off the tracks, because we saw an older man walk up it just before us. We ended up walking for 30-45 minutes in the woods and found some very cool shrines that many people do not see.
So after we turned around and hauled butt back to the regular path it was getting some what late and we decided to head down the mountain. We ended up walking around and finding an awesome little pond that had lots of turtles and Koi fish swimming about near the shore. Watching these little creatures go about their days was very relaxing and we needed a break from that hike in the woods. One of the more interesting things we found were a tiny buddha with a glass of sake in front of him and a priestess which is the first one I had seen the whole trip.